Cinven news

All Group media enquiries should be directed to
Vanessa Maydon, Corporate Affairs Director.

Cinven Partners LLP
Warwick Court
Paternoster Square
London EC4M 7AG

Tel: +44 (0)20 7661 3325
Mob: +44 (0)7802 961 902
Email: Vanessa Maydon

Press releases

12 April 2013

Appointment of Richard Hodgson as Chief Executive of PizzaExpress

Gondola Group, the UK market leader in casual dining, is delighted to announce the appointment of Richard Hodgson as Chief Executive of PizzaExpress.

Richard has over 20 years’ experience in the food industry, where he has held senior positions at a number of the UK’s leading supermarkets. Most recently, Richard was Group Commercial Director of Morrisons where, amongst other things, he developed the own brand strategy for the chain. Prior to this, Richard was Commercial Director at Waitrose, where his responsibilities included developing the Waitrose brand internationally. Richard instigated the hugely successful launch of Waitrose’s value range, Essential Waitrose, and the popular advertising campaign featuring Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal. Richard worked at Asda between 1996 and 2006, progressing rapidly through the company to hold a number of senior positions.

PizzaExpress was founded in the UK in 1965 and is Gondola’s largest brand.  Richard will join the Group on 29th April 2013 and will be responsible for overseeing the continued growth of PizzaExpress, which is well-positioned with over 420 sites in the UK. The business is also growing strongly internationally, currently operating in 12 countries including high-growth economies such as China and India. PizzaExpress has plans to open 200 new sites in these markets over the next five years, as well as 200 further sites in the UK. In addition, the brand now sells over 31 million pizzas in supermarkets across the UK.

Commenting on the appointment, Harvey Smyth, Chief Executive of the Gondola Group said:

“Richard brings exceptional experience in the food industry to PizzaExpress at a very exciting time in the business’s development. During his highly successful career, Richard has developed a deep understanding of brand, quality and value, all of which are fundamental to PizzaExpress’ future success.”

Richard Hodgson added:

“I am delighted to be joining PizzaExpress. It is one of the UK’s favourite brands with exciting prospects for the future and I am looking forward to working with the team to drive continued growth both in the UK and internationally.”